Snake enjoying the sun next to a Pitcher Plant
Pitcher plants have leaves that are hollow "tubes," open at the top and completely or partially covered by a specialized flap or hood. The often brightly colored or patterned hood helps control the amount of rain water entering the tube and in some species may also serve as a flower mimic to attract prey. To further entice prey, the decorative hoods are often enhanced with nectar secretions,and strong odors attractive to insects are often produced from inside the leaf. Immediately inside the "tube," the surface is slick, causing most insects which venture too close to the edge to fall to the bottom of the leaf where a pool of water awaits. Downward-directed hairs on the inside of the "tube" impede the insects from crawling out. Once immersed in the water the insect drowns and decomposes; a process aided by enzymes and digestive acids secreted into the water by the plant. The result is a nitrogen-rich "liquid fertilizer" available to the plant.